Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health what COVID-19 testing is provided for domiciliary care and other community health workers.
Minister of Health: Testing in Northern Ireland continues to be a vital tool in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current position is that all Health and Social Care (HSC) staff who are symptomatic (or whose household contacts are symptomatic) are eligible for testing in Northern Ireland.
This includes domiciliary care providers and other community health workers who, as essential health care workers, are currently able to access testing either through local HSC laboratories or via the National Testing Programme. Should there be an indication of more than one symptomatic individual among a group of care workers, an appropriate risk assessment will be undertaken by the Public Health Agency with testing of all individuals undertaken as deemed appropriate following the risk assessment.
The priority groups for testing are reviewed on an active basis and adjusted appropriately as priorities change as this pandemic progresses. As our understanding of this new virus is continuing to evolve and we learn more about the impact of the virus across different settings, and as new testing technologies emerge, we may revisit our policy on testing HSC staff.